We had a nice weekend away from home, at a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior - one of my very favorite places to be. We took only fun stuff, no work, and food we all would like. It was snowy and Cora, the only one of us to own snowpants, loved that. A lot. We followed deer tracks - Rudolph track, she insisted (and, did you know Rudolph is a girl?). She was disappointed that we never saw Rudolph, but decided it was okay if Rudolph was home drinking hot cocoa. She noticed some little tiny footprints in the snow - a vole, maybe. I did a lot of knitting! Chris took a nap! Crazy times.
We had heard there might be big snow coming on Saturday and Sunday, but we'd made these plans back in October (one of my birthday presents!). The cabin does not have cable. Or a radio. Turns out, there was a big long blizzard headed right for us on our drive home.
It was a scary drive, the little bit of it we accomplished on Sunday. After an hour of whiteout conditions, we were happy to stop and find a hotel in Duluth and then find the one place still open and willing to deliver food in the freezing snowy windy cold. Monday morning, as Cora and I waited in the foyer for Chris to swipe off, warm up, and bring the car around, a very tall man in a cut-off t-shirt, jeans, ball cap over his pony tail, and many many many tattoos stepped out to see how cold it was. As he walked past Cora I saw her staring at him, wide-eyed. Yes, I could hear the wheels turning.
Sure enough, as soon as he walked past us again, Cora, who now has that toddler-with-a-lot-to-say-stutter, said, "Mama, he's got, he's got, he's got, he's got COFFEE!!"
Indeed, he had a steaming hot cup of coffee in his hand.
He smiled at her, told her she was a little young for coffee. She introduced him to Ariel, and then gave a long speech about how she was Ariel-mommy Queen Athena and her babies were all Ariels, all the while walking in a circle in front of him. He made appropriate noises and gave me a quizzical glance. "She's really into pretending right now," I explained. He asked how old she was and nodded when I told him. Then he said, "My daughter's 12 now. I really miss this age!" We wished each other good driving, and he continued on through the lobby.
Cora didn't once mention his tattoos. I was really surprised, because she does notice and talk about graffiti (and how those people really should have used paper instead), and so I thought this would be a huge new topic of conversation. Not so much. Times like this I'm glad that I wait to see what she's going to say before I jump in to explain something I think she's thinking about. Because usually, she has something entirely different on her mind.